Do you remember the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Bible? Many people have no idea what this Old Testament book is about. I didn’t have a clue as to what the storyline was until after my affair. But now, because of my own sin and my own struggle to get out of the adultery, this book has meant Life to me. It puts the gospel story of the never failing love that God has for his people into terms that we, as everyday people, can relate to.
In short, Hosea is told by God to take an adulterous woman as his wife so that God can demonstrate how He is like a husband who continually goes back after his wayward wife (us-His redeemed people) in order to be reconciled with her. Hosea obeys and marries Gomer. Gomer proves to be faithful only to the name she has been called: adulterous. She leaves Hosea time and time again. Yet, over and over, he seeks her back out and does whatever he has to in order to bring her back home.
So what does all of this have to do with waiting, from our perspective? For me, I see two major points here. First, I see that Hosea has to have had an attitude of resolved contentment. He went into the marriage knowing full and well that Gomer would be unfaithful. It doesn’t seem that he goes into it with any ideas of “I can’t wait until she changes her heart and we have a good life together.” He is, instead, resolved to stay in the moment where God places him and to live out the will of God instead of his own. He’s resolved to do this even if it means that he is to live a life that is “unhappy” by most human standards. It may have seemed unfair to Hosea at times that he had to deal with a marriage like this, but he had no idea what God intended to do with his example and his story.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (emphasis mine)
When we look at our own marriages, we often think things like, “I can’t wait until things slow down and we aren’t so busy any more.” Or “I can’t wait until my husband begins to lead our family.” Or “As soon as he gets over his porn addiction, everything will get better.” God has really convicted me lately to stop looking forward to what I hope will happen. Yes, it may seem like life will be so much easier when we aren’t so busy. But, in all reality, when will that be? In an ideal world, where our husbands aren’t tempted by other women, where we aren’t overcome by worry and fear, where our time isn’t filled with everyday busy-ness, it would all be easier. But we don’t live in the Garden any more. We live in a fallen world where sin and struggles abound. In our waiting, we must find a way to be content in this moment that God has placed us in. If we are continually looking beyond to the day that our struggles will be lessened, we will miss the very moments that God has ordained for us. The very thing that may bring your husband home or the act of service that will give you true peace may be the very thing that you are overlooking because you “can’t wait” until it is over.
It’s recorded that Gomer and Hosea had at least 3 children during the time of Gomer’s promiscuity. In an average estimate, that’d be about 8-10 years of marriage. That’s a long time to wait for God to be working, especially if the only promise you have been given about your marriage is that your wife will most definitely be unfaithful repeatedly. What did Hosea have to look forward to? What hope did he have of ever having a decent life with his family?
This is where I think the second point comes in. The only way to be resolved to be content in the moment God has you in is to find your One Hope in Him. Paul reminds the Ephesians of this in Ephesians 4:4-6.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
We only have one true Hope. Our hope is Christ. Anything that we place our hope in other than Him, is a waste of time. If you are putting your hope in the fact that your husband might leave his affair and come home to you and the kids, your hope is in the wrong place. If you are hoping that one day your spouse will stop putting work before you, your hope is, again, in the wrong place. If you are spending every day, waiting on your husband or your circumstances or your life to change, your hope is not in Him. Instead, remind yourself that God is your Hope. He is unchanging and unfailing. Once you truly put your hope in only Him, you won’t be tossed and swayed by every action or inaction of your spouse. Your moods, your contentment, and your joy will no longer be dependent on your circumstances. They will be securely rooted in the One who doesn’t let us down.
Hosea lived his life with the purpose of fulfilling God’s will. He was resolved to go through whatever circumstances and trials he had to in order to glorify God. The only way he was able to do this was to put his Hope in who he knew God was and trust Him. Are you trusting Him now? Are you resolved to remain content while He is working out His greater plan?
If you have missed any of the previous posts in this “While I’m Waiting” series, go here to read them all.